Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Insert HUGE eye roll HERE

 I have noticed that over the years I've become a little cynical about some things.  I was sitting in the doctors office today (for 2 hours!  Insert frownie face here.)  and was flipping through one of the different magazines they had on the table in the waiting room.  It was a style & gossip magazine & a few questions started floating through my head.


  1. Why are certain people considered celebrities & why do we care about every aspect of their lives so much?  I find it a little ridiculous. First off, they are people.  They do a lot of the same things we all do each day.  Second, they sometimes make bad choices.  (and keep making those choices...a lot)  I'm not saying those choices make them bad people, I'm just saying they consciously put themselves in situations that are not flattering & then some of them have the audacity to be mad because they are in the press about it.
  2. Why do we care so much what the celebrities are wearing?  Why do I care that a celebrity looks gross in her yoga pants & t-shirt with her hair pulled back?  She may have gone to the gym; maybe her kids kept her up all night and sister needs some sleep; maybe she was having a day when everything in her closet was too tight & just needed to slouch for a bit.  Why does it matter?  My one piece of fashion advice for celebrities, PLEASE wear a slip when you wear a see through dress.  Ugh!
  3. I don't care what designer the celebrities are wearing.  I like to look good, but I also don't think that you have to spend a small fortune to do it.  Fashion is so fickle anyway, I think it's important to feel good in your clothes.  I think it's silly that someone would spend $520 on a green velour jacket.  Personally I could find much better ways to spend $500, but hey, whatever floats their boat.  (BTW, if you ever see me wearing a green velour jacket, you have my permission to hit me in the head with a tack hammer, just sayin'.)
  4. Why do we act surprised by celebrities world wind romances and breakups?  I have too much to worry about with my own fam to worry about a celebrity who's 2 month marriage is splitting up.  They fall in and out of love so fast, and it seems like many are always chasing greener pastures.  If you want a green pasture, take the time to water your lawn.  Marriage is work people, ask anyone who's been married for 50  years, they'll tell you it's not always smooth sailing, but it's worth the ride.
  5. Naked pictures....everyone just needs to stop, celebrities, teenagers, grown-ups...everyone.  Or just don't be surprised when a hacker (or your publicist) decides to leak them to the media.  Put your phone away, because we don't need to see your behind or any other body part.
After I thumbed through the magazine, I put it down in total disgust.  I can think of many everyday people who are much more accomplished, amazing and giving than most of the people in that magazine.  These people do their thing without adoring fans or making lots of money. They are just incredible people.  To me, they are the real celebrities, and I am blessed to know them.

Thanks for letting me rant.  :)  If you are an everyday celebrity, thank you for what you do!
Celebrating life!
~ashley

Monday, November 17, 2014

You Must Be Out Cho'Mind!

My children are pyromaniacs, but then again, aren't most children?  Mine come by it naturally.  My sister & I used to stick our fingers in candles to play with the wax & Hopson used to set rice fields on fire after they had been harvested on his family's farm growing up.  (yeah, I know, Hopson wins...)  But, playing with candles has always been a fascination of mine.  I just can't help it.

Our kitchen, which I spend most of my time in, smells like rotten pumpkins right now.  Yuck!  My centerpiece that was on my table had three pumpkins & I didn't know the bottom had become rotten until yesterday.  In case you've never smelled rotten pumpkins, it's gross.  I've scrubbed my kitchen down, but I still get whiffs of it every now & then.  Bleh!  Because of the smell, I picked up some fragrance spray that I like at the grocery store.  It has a nice fresh smell to it.

When I brought it home, Henry discovered it & started spraying it all over the house.  I was ok with that, it made the house smell nice.  Today Harry discovered it.  He really liked it.  I told him he could have my second can.  I'm trying to be nice & share.  I don't know what I was thinking today, or maybe I just wasn't.  I'm not quite sure, but the inner pyro in me came out.  I had candles lit in the kitchen; I had a can of aerosol spray; I had an impressionable 12 year old standing right beside me.  Guess what I did...

...Hey watch this.  I took the can & 1 of my candles & sprayed the thing right at the candle.  Yep, I sure did.  Now it was way cool, I mean it was a horizontal column of fire!  After I did it, I was like, (yes, I'm having an inner dialogue with myself.  I guess it would be my Id & Superego, for all you Freudian peeps out there.)  'You must be out of your cotton pickin' mind!'  And  yes, I was.  I mean really, what was I thinking showing Henry the joys of flames & aerosol cans, at 12 years old!  OMG, he's going to burn the house down.

The next thing out of my mouth was for him to NEVER do that.  It's one of those 'do as I say & not as I do' moments.  Don't get me wrong, I wanted to do it again, but really, what kind of example am I being?  I had a momentary lapse in my mommy judgement & just wanted to show said 12 year old something cool.  Ugh, fail!

We did have a good laugh together though.  Who knows what I'll show him tomorrow....  Just kidding.  ;)

Celebrating Life & temporarily losing my mind!
~ashley

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Borrowing a Line

It's a Jagged Little Pill

Yes, I know it's a song by Alanis Morrisette, but it so applies to this post.

Have you ever so totally messed up something that you relive your embarrassment and shame over and over and over again?  See, I told you the song title applied.  It's like a jagged pill that you swallow over and over.  (or at least I tend to relive mistakes in my mind...maybe I'm crazy, but that's another posting for another time.)

Henry had one of those moments yesterday.  Luckily, it wasn't life threatening, but it was something that was very public & ended the advancement of his team in a competition.  I think, as parents, we tend to want to shield our children from failure and embarrassment.  No one wants their children to fail, but can I tell you, the lesson your child learns from that failure will be one that they remember for a lifetime.

A few things that you need to know about Hen before I lay out what #4 did...

  • Henry has been my little Lego builder for as long as I can remember.  He would spend hours building and rebuilding different cities, cars, spaceships and he would build and play with them anywhere and everywhere.
  • If Hen is interested in something, he will do his very best with it.  No interest = no effort.
  • Henry does not get too emotional about things.  He's the youngest & can just about roll with any situation.  He's had to for most of his life, so not much ruffles him.  Well anything, except Harry.
Henry is on the robotics team at his school.  He loves it, no wait, he really loves it.  He loves every portion of robotics:  designing, building, programming, driving.  It's just an extension of his Legos, but he's able to compete with it.  So yesterday was a competition, if you want to see what they have to do, click HERE.  Henry's team did very well & were 15th out of 42 teams after all the prelims were completed.  I should also note that the middle school kids were competing against high school children, so 15th was pretty dog gone good.

Lining up for the alliances.
After prelims, you have what they call alliances.  The alliance teams are chosen in front of everyone & then compete against other teams to try to get into the finals.  It's single elimination, so you lose & you're out.  Here's where Henry majorly messed up.  If you were below 8th place yesterday, you had to take an alliance that was offered to you.  For what ever reason, when Henry's team was offered, (remember they're in 15th) he declined.  So basically, he put his robot team out of the competition.  No other team could pick them up.  I'm sitting in the stands wondering what 'in the you know what' just happened....

I look at him & then he realizes what he just did in front of EVERYONE.  (probably around 400 people.)  He messed up big.  His coach was not happy, which if I was the coach I wouldn't have been happy either, because this is a state qualifying meet.  His team had a great chance to make it to state with this robot.  Why would he go up there & do that?  Oh my goodness, this was not good, and the look on Henry's face said it all.  Jagged little pill.

Have you ever been shown mercy when you deserved condemnation and anger?  Do you know how humbling it is?  Everyone of Henry's team mates (5 for this robot) showed my guy mercy.  They forgave him immediately & were encouraging to him.  They told him that everyone makes mistakes & it was going to be ok.  No yelling, no raised voices, just friends talking.  They told him that they would get it in the next competition.  As mom of the child that threw the robot team out of the competition, I wanted to hug every one of his teammates.  It lets me know there are still parents who are taking the time to teach their children to speak words of life over friends.  I know the apples don't fall far from the trees, because we had several team member's parents text or email saying that it was going to be ok & mistakes happen.

There is a silver lining to this story.  We came home after Henry messed up, sometimes you need to be able to be upset in private, but last night Henry's coach called & then a sweet friend emailed me about Team C.  There are several awards given, that can qualify you for state without actually winning the final match.  There is an Excellence Award given that is based on: number of points, a notebook that quantifies everything the children have done to their robot, programming skills & diving skills.  Henry's team won it!  So the team with the little boy that eliminated said team from the semis is going to state.  His smile was huge.  I know that in the future, I don't think he will make that same mistake again.  You know what, I'm willing to guess that the entire robotics team from his school now knows the rule as well.

We do want Hen to own his mistake.  Just because it ended well does not take away what he did, and we hope he has learned a lot from it.  Both in how his team treated him, and how he needs to treat others when they make mistakes.  It's still going to be a jagged little pill, but it's a little easier going down with the sweet taste of forgiveness.

Celebrating life, hard lessons learned & the love of merciful friends,
~ashley
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

We Put the Fun in DysFUNctional

So, this past weekend the entire fam went to Oxford to visit the grandparents & go to to the Auburn/Ole Miss football game.  It was nice to spend more than 10 minutes with Hop, and it's always nice to be spoiled by my in-laws.  Tickets, check.  Very warm clothes, check.  Tailgating, check, and as far as tailgating goes, The Grove is iconic...and...a little crowded...and...a little rowdy.  We passed about 7 different Elvis impersonators.  (hilarious)  Most tents are decorated to the hilt.  (love it)  The food is second to none.  (my pants are a little tighter today.)  It's funny because when the game starts, there are about as many people in the Grove watching the game on TV as there are in the game.  It's great!

Our game plans were varied and interesting.  Hopson wanted to say in the Grove to watch the game on TV.  Hop, Harry & nephew Garner all went into the game & sat in the Auburn section.  We're trying to talk G into coming to AU, but he is a Mississippi State man & really wants to go there.  He wore his State gear to the game.  (that would be like an AU fan wearing orange & blue to a UA game when AU & UA weren't playing.)  Elizabeth, Henry & I sat in the Ole Miss corner of the far end zone by the student section.  We were 3 Tigers in a red sea, and we kept our mouths somewhat shut, for various reasons.

Now, E looked at me & asked why there was a black bear dressed up instead of a Rebel.  I giggled & then as I started to explain everything, I realized that there are a lot of teams that have dysfunctional identities.  We  have our reasons for them, but we have them none the less.  I'm going to list 4 of them below & you decide for yourself.  And since it's easier to start with pointing the finger at my team first, that's where I'll start:


  1. Auburn:  Mascot: Tigers.  Battle cry: War Eagle!  There is The legend of War Eagle, and it's the legend you will read first that is the widely accepted version of how our battle cry came about.  Since my children were little, they have been able to sing the fight song.  What can I say, we start their indoctrination early.  (ask my father-in-law who accidentally bought Alabama booties instead of Auburn ones when little Hop was born...bad, bad, bad.  He took them back and bought the correct ones, but I have loved giving him grief for the last 20 years.)  By the way, if you ever get to go to an Auburn game, make sure 1.  to look us up.  We have a tent where we tailgate & would love to feed you & 2. that you make it in before the eagle flies during pregame.  If you've never seen the eagle soar through the stadium, it is an extremely cool experience.  
  2. Alabama:  Mascot:  Elephant.  Battle cry:  Roll Tide.  Team called:  Crimson Tide.  Being an Auburn person, I'm not in the know about all their lingo & traditions.  (I can't even say Rok;j;lkj Tilskdfjl;sk, see what happens...)  I do know that someone said that they looked like a crimson tide or something like that... ;)
  3. Ole Miss:  Mascot:  Rebels/Black Bears/Landsharks  Battle Cry:  Hotty Toddy.  All the different names are actually kinda fun.  I think there is a silent majority that would like to drop the Black Bears & just go with the Landsharks.  The phrase Landsharks was started in 2008 by an Ole Miss linebacker, Toney Fein to describe the defense.  I have to tell you, I like it.  We saw a ton of people wearing shark hats; they have a 'Fin Cam' during the game; & you'll see the D do it if they make a great play.  I agree with the majority, y'all drop the bear & bring on the shark. 
  4. Mississippi State:  Mascot:  Bulldogs.  Battle Cry:  Hail State.  Official "thing":  the cowbell.  I am not Christopher Walkin & do not need more cowbell.  Not really a fan of them.  I migraines fairly easily & those things will set one off in a heartbeat.  At least they are doing better about not ringing them once the center goes over the ball, but still, someone pass the Advil.  We have family ties to State.  Hopson's brother is a graduate & niece Margaret was a student & nephew Garner wants to go there.  We like for them to do well, as long as they don't get in the way of Auburn going to the SEC Championship.
So there  you go, fun in dysfunctional.  :)  Auburn won the game Saturday night, and while I am excited about that, it's hard to get too excited when a player is seriously injured.  One of Ole Miss's best receivers, Laquon Treadwell, suffered a horrible season ending injury.  I pray for him get well wishes & a very speedy recovery.  He had a great game & it was a nail biter until the end.  Thank you to Tracy & family for allowing us to hang out in their tent!  We appreciate your hospitality & as always would love to host you next year!

Celebrating life & the dysFUNctionality of football,
~ashley

PS ~ We also had a great time visiting with family.  GiGi & Pop let us invade their house this weekend & we had a ball!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Check It Off Her Bucket List

Holy Schomly...my daughter is an internet published photographer!  And not just by me on this blog or on her webpage...see, I know what you're thinking.  :)  Now, don't get me wrong, I love to use her photography, but as her biggest fan & biggest critic, she really does have an eye.

There are wonderfully talented people in my community.  Artists, artisans, home decorators, fashion consultants, writers, and the list keeps going.  It really is amazing as I stop and think about it.  There are many of them who use their talent, not only to make something more beautiful, but a chance to share about the One who gave them the talent.  It's pretty cool.

One of those people is Buffy York.  Buffy started a very popular blog called The Style Gathering, and features a talented Godly friend, Laura DiFatta, as one of her guest writers.  How Elizabeth came to meet Buffy, and now be a photographer for her is, to me, a pretty cool story.

This past spring, after Elizabeth's 14th birthday, we enrolled her in a photography class.  Hopson & I felt that she has this nice camera & she needs to know how to use it properly.  I could stumble my way through auto-focus, but I wanted her to learn the ins and outs of her camera.  So, every Thursday for 8 weeks, I took miss priss to her class.  I thought the teacher would just be walking them through the basics of digital photography.  Oh no, they had weekly projects.  So, on top of her regular homework, that child was taking her lampshade off, using forks and eggs and laying down in the middle of the street to get "the perfect shot".  All the students had to submit their work online & it was critiqued by the teacher.  I think I would cry.

The pressure of getting the perfect shot would probably cause me sleepless nights.  Not E.  She loved it.  At first she felt a little weird because everyone in the class was old enough to be her parent or grandparent, but she got over it very quickly.  It's amazing how, when someone looks at something you've done and tells you that it is good, it will boost your confidence.  (1 Timothy 4:12)  Elizabeth loved the class, and guess who was also in there...that's right, Buffy.  Elizabeth remembered her from class & actually sat by her at a fundraiser that they were both involved in a few weeks ago.

I was talking to Laura last week & asked her if Elizabeth could take pictures for the blog.  I have been following the blog & loved the pictures they have featured by other photographers.  I figured there was no harm in asking...the worst thing they could say was no.  Laura was extremely sweet & passed on my message & a few days ago E received a text from Buffy to meet her yesterday for a shoot!  Well, today, miss priss has her pictures published on The Style Gathering.

She was so excited she couldn't wait to tell me.  She was at dance and sent me the text you see on the left.  That child is on cloud 9.  Congrats to my crazy snapper.  (if you've ever been around her when she's taking pictures, she does snap those photos like crazy!  you can tell she digitally trained & not film trained.)    If you get the chance, head over to The Style Gathering & check it out, you'll be uplifted & glad you did.

Celebrating life & little girls seeing big dreams come true!
~ashley

PS ~ I'm going to take just a minute to brag on the oldest & youngest for just a sec!

Congrats to Hop for this photo making the AUDM Instagram page.  He was one of the MCs last year & had a blast.  All money raised goes to the Children's Miracle Network.  So proud of my not so little kid.  :)  Just in case you couldn't guess, he is dressed in a Spartan cheerleader costume.  College kids...they crack me up!



Congrats to the youngest, Henry, for being awarded good citizen for the first 9 weeks of school.  Only 4 students were chosen from his pod & he was one of them.  :)  I think you're a pretty cool kid Mr. Hen!   
       

 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Some Perspective From the Cheap Seats

Good gravy the rumors have been flying around this city faster than a forest fire.  I should know because I heard someone ask me if I had heard what was going on.  First of all, yes I know what the rumor is & second, no it's not true.  I know you wondering what this is all about.  I'm going to give you a few minutes to...

...think...
...a little more...
...you know what it is...
...it's the one thing that can make the most rational person totally crazy...
...think a little more...
...it's little league sports.

Here's my take on little league sports, of any kind, both girls and boys.


  1. Little league sports are to teach basic knowledge of the game.  In football it's blocking & tackling; baseball/softball it's hitting & fielding; basketball it's dribbling & shooting;  lacrosse it's throwing, catching & shooting.  Your football player learns that a 42 draw is the tailback (or fullback) going through the hole on the right side in-between the center & guard.  He learns that everyone on the field has a job & they have to do their job or the play won't go right.
  2. Little league sports are to help develop a love of the game.  When I coached diving I made it my goal for the kids to learn to dive well & more importantly, want to dive again next year.  I think coaches forget this rule.  Some are so focused on winning they forget that developing a love of the sport will last long after the child has stopped playing.
  3. Little league sports help develop character.  It can be just as hard to be gracious when you win as it is to be classy when you lose.  Hey coaches & parents, your children are watching you, and they are great at mimicking your behavior.  Show them, don't just tell them what good character looks like.  
  4. Little league sports can ready you for real life.  Have you ever been trucked, blindsided or hit when you're already down by life?  I have.  You know what little league sports teach you?  Get up and try it again.  If you mess up; learn from it & move on.  Don't replay the mess-up, get over it.
  5. Little league sports teach you how to work with a team.  You know why I love football?  (besides the fact that I live in the south...) If one guy messes up on a play, it affects everyone.  Ever seen one guy jump offsides?  Back'em up 5.  One guy get called for pass interference?  15 yards tacked on from the end of the run....  I can keep going, but I think you get the idea.  What you do in a group matters & when you're on a team (and in real life) it's not all about you. 
  6. Little league sports give you as a spectator a chance to praise your child.  Stop  yelling at your kids.  Let the coach talk to them if they mess up.  (I feel yelling as a coach is ok when they get older...like 8th grade & up)  I admit, this is a hard one for me especially since #4 will mentally wander.  Yeah, it drives me crazy, but I've tried to talk to the coaches & let them know what's going on so they can bring the wandering mind into focus.  The good ones do, but the bad ones...well, we won't go there...today.   
  7. Stop treating little kids like professional athletes. Your job does not ride on a bunch of 10 year olds winning your next game, so quit acting like it does.  Please, please, please listen when men, like Dr. James Andrews, give advice.  He's not just blowing smoke and trying to hold your child back from making the bigs one day; he is trying to keep your child safe from hurting themselves.  Besides, he's only one of the world's most renowned Orthopedic surgeons, but I am SHOCKED how so many moms & dads poopoo what he says.  
Now that I have gotten that rant off my chest, I have to say that if you are not doing or following at least a few of the 7 things from above, you might want to ask yourself why you are coaching or allowing your child to play little league sports.  Because you know what mom & dad, it's not about you anyway.  It's about your child & as soon as you figure that out, the better off you'll be. 

You might wonder where I came up with my 7 points?  I've had my fanny in the stands or working different sporting events since my brother was 5 years old.  The year he graduated from high school was the spring Hop was old enough to start playing little league.  30 years I've been watching someone in the fam play sports, and that's a long time.  I've seen some really great coaches & I've seen some pretty horrible ones.  Fortunately, there have been more good ones than bad.  I challenge all coaches to step up & be THAT coach!  The one that teaches knowledge of & a love for the game.  Your players will respect you & thank you for it.

This was my perspective from the cheap seats, so you can take it for what it's worth.  :)

Celebrating life & good, clean sports,
~ashley     

Friday, October 17, 2014

You Know You Want Some

BBQ the Bucs
Big & Midge
#1 on your plate & #1 in your heart

Every  year to raise money for Relay for Life our local high school hosts a huge event called BBQ the Bucs.  (This is one of our big rivals.)  Teams sign up to compete in the category of their choice:  hamburgers, chicken or steak.  The competition is judged and winners are announced.  Who will be king of the grill?  

This is the 2nd year that Harry has competed with his friend Anthony.  The name of their team is Big & Midge.  You understand the name when you see the picture of them together.  :)  Harry and Anthony have been friends, I think, since they were 2.  Old friends are special, and theirs has always been an easy going friendship.  We love Ant.  

Last year Big & Midge came in 2nd.  Harry was not very happy with that.  He felt team Big & Midge deserved to win.  Since they didn't, those two redoubled their efforts.  Harry has been perfecting his steaks for a year.  I had one two weeks ago & it was absolutely incredible.  Juicy and a perfect medium...oh so good!  I'm not saying that as a proud mom, even though I am, I'm saying that as someone who's been slinging hash for over 20 years.  It's easy to mess up a steak.  (trust me, I've messed up 1 or 10 or 20.  Well, not really that many, but a good 5-7...)  Chicken is easy to grill, but I have a hard time grilling a good steak.  Harry has a secret ingredient he puts on his steaks that make them melt in your mouth.  I could tell you what it is, but I'm not.  :)  

For 2014, Big & Midge won the steak division of BBQ the Bucs.  So proud of those two.  They worked very hard to win.  They are #1 on your plate & #1 in your heart!  #bigandmidge  #grillkings & you know you want some!!! 

Celebrating being #1!  Congrats Big & Midge!!!
~ashley